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Tornado sweeps through Milberger





MILBERGER -- It wasn't big, but the tornado that swept through Milberger "blew windows out of two combines and three tractors," according to a resident who tracked the twister for nearly a mile.

Monty Mai, who also serves as the fire chief for the Milberger district in Russell County, said Thursday evening's tornado was on the ground for perhaps 8 miles as it passed through the area at approximately 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

A second funnel was reported north of Natoma in Osborne County, but it's still unclear if it ever touched down.

There also was some minor flooding in the area, although Russell County Emergency Management Director Keith Haberer said there were no damage reports as of this morning.

He said he heard of rainfall reports of approximately 2 inches.

"It just came fast and stayed right in the area," Haberer said of the rain.

Although he didn't receive any rain northwest of Russell, Haberer said he only had heard of the damage to machinery at Radke Implement in Milberger, along with a report of some oil barrels being tossed into the air.

So far, it's uncertain what the strength of the tornado that passed through Milberger might be, although Mai said he provided information to Haberer, who plans to forward it to the National Weather Service in Wichita.

Although Mai first saw the tornado north of Milberger, he later learned it had passed through a yard approximately 2 miles south of the community.

The tornado also continued north beyond where he quit videotaping it.

"It could have been on the ground for 8 to 10 miles," he said. "At least 7 to 8 miles."

Mai said he got out of the tornado's way when he first saw it and then followed it for about a mile, videotaping it as it traveled north.

Although it's been described as a rope tornado, it wasn't very big.

"Not very wide at all," Mai said. "Maybe 75 yards."

As it crossed the road in front of him, he said, it soon went into a pasture so no debris could be seen.

"I'll be curious to see what the weather service has to say about it," he said.

Mai said he's always had an interest in weather.

"Growing up out here, I was always keeping an eye on the sky," he said. "You have to be interested in it if you live in Kansas."